Monday, April 14, 2008

Start from home!

The other day I had to go to Chennai central station to see off one of my close relatives who was visiting us for a couple of days. The idea of visiting railway stations do not particularly enthuse me. For who would willingly want to subject themselves to the madding crowd, putrid smell of urine and the not-so-clean environment that prevail in the rail stations. Not that the government is turning a blind eye to the sanitation and hygiene issues, I think the issue of cleanliness and keeping our surroundings clean and orderly lies in the individuals’ hands.

Coming back to my story, our family wished the relative a safe and comfortable journey (which we did not anyway think was possible with the amount of luggage he chose to carry with him) and exchanged parting pleasantries. In the inevitable list of the parting ceremony was sipping coffee. Sipped we did and once the paper cups were empty, my parents were ready to throw them underneath the train. Were they unmindful of the fact that the train does move out of the station and the track will be littered after that? It can’t be!
It turned out that my mom considered tossing trash into the designated trash cans a noble act. I snatched the paper cups from her and tried to explain the whole thing.

It took me by surprise when she commented my act with ‘are you trying to be a Gandhi?’

Well, everything starts from home. I wondered whether there is any point in spending millions trying to educate and change people’s approach towards things. Afterall, old habits die hard!